Impact of alarm fatigue on infusion pump contamination

"In this study, we report hand hygiene compliance and infusion pump contamination in the context of infusion pump alarm prevalence" Nas et al (2020).

Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Researchers have found that lack of hand hygiene and environmental contamination are sources of infection transmission in the healthcare environment. One factor that may lead to lack of hand hygiene is alarm fatigue, the sensory overload that results when clinicians are exposed to an excessive number of alarms, causing them to silence alarms without taking proper precautions. In this study, we report hand hygiene compliance and infusion pump contamination in the context of infusion pump alarm prevalence.

METHODS: Healthcare worker (HCW) hand hygiene audits were conducted to determine percent compliance. Cultures were obtained from infusion pumps to determine environmental contamination. The frequency of alarms from August 4th, 2019 to September 7th, 2019 was determined.

RESULTS: Hand hygiene compliance ranged from 50%-87%. Pump contamination ranged from 20 to 70% per unit. 116, 872 infusion pump alarms sounded in the hospital.

DISCUSSION: Pumps were contaminated primarily with skin flora. This was demonstrated in the context of poor hand hygiene compliance and a high number of alarms, indicative of alarm fatigue.

CONCLUSIONS: The intersection of a high prevalence of infusion pump alarms and poor hand hygiene resulting in bacterial contamination of pumps could be a source of HAI transmission for patients.

Reference:

Nas, M.Y., Clark, J., Dolgin, G., Malczynski, M., Qi, C., Bolon, M. and Zembower, T. (2020) The Intersection of Hand Hygiene, Infusion Pump Contamination and High Alarm Volume in the Healthcare Environment. American Journal of Infection Control. April 16th. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.04.006. (Epub ahead of print).

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